So we’re reading this book called Encouragement: The Key To Caring and it’s actually really interesting. Not sure I agree with 100% of it but it’s thought provoking at least. One interesting idea it has – it rightly recognizes (I think) that most/all people put up layers around their true selves in social interactions. What the book says, and I think I agree, is that the solution to this is not total openness. That in and of itself isn’t a good thing. When people try to be totally open, what they’re looking for is acceptance of who they are, but they’re finding it in other people, not in God. I dunno, I think you see this pattern in the world, in support groups or in therapy, where people essentially buy acceptance for an hour or two. That’s not the right way. Interesting.

One thing I did like about the book is that it doesn’t give glib easy answers. So like, part of the book has a message that God seems to be pounding away to me – you need to die to yourself. As far as the book goes, the message is, you need to always focus on encouraging others, not on getting encouragement for yourself.

The question I always have is, how do you do that without going crazy? Constantly giving, never receiving? Usually I get rote answers like, if you give you will receive, or trust in God blah blah blah. I like what the book said. It says, if you do that, it’s really hard. In fact, you’ll feel really lonely, if you keep it up. Feel like you’re giving, never receiving. The book’s bold claim is that that loneliness is a good thing, perhaps (maybe I’m overstating it) necessary, because only in your loneliness do you really come to God for everything.

I like that. I’m not positive I agree completely, but at least the recognition that dying to yourself is really hard I respect. The end advice I guess is the same, turn to God, but just acknowledging that along the way you’ll have to go through something tough to get there, I dunno, I think it’s interesting.

So here’s my bold claim regarding marriage. I’ve come to believe, and maybe I’m wrong, but I think that every girl in the world wants to be treated like a queen. Be taken care of really well. Here’s my claim: they should be. Their attitude is “right”. Is that bold? I dunno, I’m just thinking of Biblical roles, and I think the male’s role is sacrifice, taking care of the woman, dying to self, giving yourself up like Christ did for the church. I don’t think that’s the woman’s role, Biblically. Maybe I’m wrong. But I think their role is obedience, which is subtle different. I dunno.

So the implication for me, what I’m wrestling with, is being able to give without expecting anything in return. That is so hard for me. I always want something in return. But yeah, I think that’s the “Biblical” way marriage should be. We’ll see.

As a side note, I’ve never bought that Proverbs 31 is about what every wife should be. Or even an ideal wife. I think it’s a great wife, sure. Just dunno about ideal. But what do I know. What’s always struck me about the chapter though, and this might be faulty thinking, but it’s verse 23: “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” In the middle of this passage about a good wife, there’s a description of the husband. The challenge I take from that is, if you want a good wife, you have to be a good husband. I dunno, challenging to me.

Boring.